Reading this might shatter any verisimilitude you might have for the story. Everything that follows is wholly worthless and unnecessary to begin with.
Okay so I don’t really know where to start. I’m not trying to put any structure into this or anything.
So Entirely Presenting You is over. Something that was two and a half years in the making, something that had been percolating in my head for at least a year before I officially started.
I sit here as the credits roll, finally, and I’m wondering how I feel about that?
To be honest… I don’t really feel anything.
That’s not true. I feel a few things.
I feel relieved, I feel liberated. I feel like an idiot. I feel wasted. I feel like a waste. I feel listless. I feel ugly. I feel burned. I don’t really feel exhausted because I make sure to get enough sleep.
I do, though, feel as if I’m ready to fade to black, once these credits are over.
730,000 words. 128 chapters. Two and a half years.
For that amount of time I labored over this work. As fun as it was, it was still work. Working towards what? I don’t really know anymore.
My backlog only lasted me about one arc, after that I was left to writing week to week. I ended up throwing myself into the fangs of this serial. It swallowed me, consumed me. Not unlike a vampire, this thing drained me of my life. It was torture, but I wanted to put myself through that, so I’m not asking for any sympathy. Not really worth that either.
I wrote no matter what. Even when I went overseas, even when I underwent an extensive jaw surgery, I picked up my phone and started typing just hours after getting out of anesthesia. I couldn’t eat solid food for a month. Only liquids. That was the closest I ever felt to being next to Alexis. Emotionally, I was alongside her the whole time. We shared many of the same feelings.
For the past two and a half years my life ran parallel with this serial. The Lunar Tower arc was partially born from the new job I had gotten at the time. The road trip arc came about because I was travelling to LA. Wendy’s distaste for Alexis, that was me my whole life.
So one might wonder why I did this to myself, why did I put so much time and effort and energy and self into something so obscure and free as a web serial? Looking back, I’m wondering that myself. It was a foolish thing to do.
Regret is too strong a word. Also an inaccurate one.
I don’t regret writing Entirely Presenting You. I had fun with it. There was never a moment that I dreaded writing this thing, making art for this thing. Even if it meant working myself to the bone, even if it meant bleeding out and using that to jot notes down. I’m being dramatic, but it really did get like that at various points. I don’t have any other way of putting it.
I remember how this thing came about. When I first learned about Nanowrimo back in 2015, this idea popped into my head. I started writing what amounted to the first arc right away, and never wrote past that, but, like a curse, it stayed with me and I began to pitch the idea to my friends. It was called Bite at the time, jokingly stylized as B!T3. Over time Bite morphed from a short novel to a serial.
The following year was spent doing school work and prepping for the serial to go live. Filming videos, doing photoshoots, writing scripts, doing personal artwork, I thought if I tapped all the other talents and abilities my friends and I had, that would be enough to set me apart from the rest. My serial would do great, I could surpass the top guys. I knew it wouldn’t happen, but that was the energy I used to propel me forward.
That didn’t happen. Of course it didn’t. I knew it wouldn’t. My serial isn’t great, and I stayed at the bottom where I deserved to be. I had failed in those efforts.
But I kept going. Stupidly and foolishly and selfishly I kept writing. As if that meant something. As if that was worth anything. I don’t know anymore.
Yet I still liked doing it. I don’t know why.
At least I can be glad in saying I was able to write the story I had envisioned on that dark October, a year before the serial officially started. I had always wanted to see a story that had the main character suffer, get hurt, lose entirely. I wanted to write a tragedy. To see effort and have it ultimately mean nothing. I wanted that. And now I have that. So I honestly have nothing to complain about. And I’m not. These aren’t aired grievances. This is simply the truth as I know it.
And in that, I can try and find solace.
“In every first novel the hero is the author as Christ or as Faust.”
This quote is attributed to Oscar Wilde. I like this quote. As cool and edgy as it is to think that I’ve written something like the latter, I think the former is more appropriate. Not that I think myself to be that, specifically, but the overall movements for the hero ended up running somewhat parallel, despite that not ever being my intention. Religion is something that has been a big part of my life, after all. Some of my best writing was done sitting in a church doing nothing and thinking of nothing.
There are a few key differences though.
There is no coming back from this. There is no planned sequel to Entirely Presenting You.
Also, I have no intention of writing another serial. Not at this moment. I also have no intention of writing ever again.
That last statement might prove to be false eventually, but I want to at least write it down now while my conviction is still genuine.
It might be selfish to think this way, to burn it all and run into the smoke to suffocate, but Entirely Presenting You is a selfish work. It is a raw, unpolished, ungainly and ugly work. So I think it fits.
Despite that ugliness, though, I still find myself fond of it. Like having sympathy for an animal as it takes its final breaths.
Two and a half years. That part of my life is over. I killed it. Time to never have anything to do with it ever again. I quit.
If you read this far…
I don’t know.
Apparently people liked this thing. My brain won’t let me believe them. I’m sorry.
If I had the chance to do this all over again, I think I would. Which assumes some sort of value. I suppose. My brain won’t let me believe that either.
Part of me wants to beat up the old me when he got the thought to write this thing. If I could go back in time… I’d kick his butt, but then I’d let him go off to write. He’ll learn his lesson. Then he’ll be back here, in my position, to do it all over again.
I’ve said enough useless things. What’s one more?
I got my start in writing by writing raps. I don’t do it much anymore, but I still like it. I wonder if it informed my prose? Who knows. Who cares.
I found this the other day. The last rap song I had ever recorded for myself. Back in 2014, before this serial was ever an inkling in my mind.
My voice is intentionally obscured in some parts so I’ll include the full lyrics below. It’s titled Note. I laugh listening to it now. Because I’ve been there before. And I’ve been back since. Because I ended up making this note a little longer and changing the title to Entirely Presenting You.
Thoughts drenched, vodka stench and llama where the heart is in,
Thought of me and Parker I’m receiving end of Uncle Ben,
Rhyming going knuckles in, but cornering a coroner,
All more he wanna roam into the morgue instead of home again,
Chrome into his dome instead, up roar to the hope and death,
27 ‘til credits, crony ‘til I get it, then,
Flowing froze to Pluto and eroding from them rolling spliffs,
And when he goes know that no one would ever miss him yet,
Except the weapon that will metal lead his head yet,
‘Til the final mic check, rhyming ‘til I die but,
Why reside in my life when I can call it quits so,
Imma call it quits so…
Okay back for second, rap to the heavens, stacked but he debted,
Even Steven can’t believe that I lose it, I won’t be back again,
Mass effected, hearse-whip churches learn these words were warnings,
Serpent in his verbs, now burn it like witches blunted quick,
Shit was just a call away, always, optic vision grey,
Harder ‘til a coffin and I’m coughin’ up and distant, yay,
Now I’m done, don’t search for him after this,
Bummed, lone and purposeless, turkey-cold as he spits his sh—
(I swear to God I’ll only smile when I die, I’ll only smile when I die,
I swear to God I’ll only smile when I die, I’ll only smile when I die,) X2